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Community Meeting Over Mission Housing Proposal Heats Up

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It may be a new year, but not much has changed in the heated debate over new housing in the Mission. The first community meeting about a market-rate development in 2016 devolved into shouting last night as audience members called for 100 percent below-market-rate housing on the site of a current laundromat. The laundromat's owner, Robert Tillman, is seeking to put 55 new market-rate units on the site, a development he thought would be relatively noncontroversial because it is only displacing a business that he currently owns. This is a project that displaces no one, one block away from the Mission BART station," he said to us. "If you can't build new housing there, where are you going to build it?"

But, of course, this is the Mission, a place where the words noncontroversial and development are rarely mentioned in the same sentence. Plans for a six-story complex that would include seven below-market-rate units drew ire from a crowd that, according to Mission Local, opposed the complex based on parking (some feel there's too much, others not enough), height, amount of community outreach, the effects on a school next door, and the loss of the laundromat. There were also demands to make the building 100 percent affordable.

The nastiest moment of the meeting came when an attendee made a comment about Tillman's daughter, who lives in Boston but was present last night. According to Tillman, the commenter asked him where his daughter lived and, when he answered Boston, she reportedly said that she wished his daughter had been blown up (presumably in the Boston Marathon bombing).

Tillman indicated that he would be open to selling the property to the city for a market-rate price of $250,000 per unit, the standard set by the city's recent purchase of 490 South Van Ness Ave. His plans call for 55 relatively small rental units that range from 400 to 900 square feet, with an average of 620 square feet. He's also applying for the density bonus to increase the number of units. Tillman claims he is looking to develop the site because his laundromat has undergone a 20 percent revenue decline over the past decade and that there are about half a dozen other coin-operated laundries within two blocks of the site.

· Community Meeting on New SF Mission Housing Turns Ugly [Mission Local]
· SF to Buy Mission Gas Station Site for 72 Affordable Rentals [Curbed SF]